Giant Ears on the British Coast

The enormous concrete shells are as tall as a house, and they were designed to listen for enemy aircraft in the 1920s and 30s. Pre-World War II acoustic experiments led to some extraordinary architecture — and to a remarkably effective technology which ultimately succumbed to the invention of radar.

In the early summer of 1934, the rolling green hills of the county of Kent were no longer as contemplatively idyllic as they once were. For nearly 12 years, William Sansome Tucker had been coming to the lonely coastal area in the southeast of England to attend to his experiments — but in those days of May, his role had changed into that of an event manager rather than a scientist. New visits were constantly being arranged, and the physicist was fully occupied organizing the arrival and departure of his guests.

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